How’s 2014/15 looking for Tottenham’s boys at the back? Come with me now as we cast our eye over the old hands and new recruits hoping to keep those sheets nice and clean this season.
Hugo Lloris – The sweeper keeper will patiently play out the season with one eye on his future career at one of Europe’s elite clubs. Lloris, having signed a new contract, knows that Levy will probably sell him next summer for beaucoup d’euros, with the Netherlands’ World Cup superhero (1 minute played) Michel Vorm waiting in the wings. Likely to build on an impressive 13/14, especially as he’ll be strutting his stuff squarely in the shop window.
Michel Vorm – The 30-year-old Dutchman will have his work cut out to displace the hugely impressive Lloris, but despite his appearances looking likely to be in cup competition, his addition provides good competition at goalkeeper and judging by his appearances for Swansea, Vorm will fancy his chances of impressing. It may be that 2015/16 will be his time to shine.
Brad Friedel – The amiable American will be too busy being a nice bloke and focussing on his ambassadorial role to play too much of a part in first team activities, but at 43, he deserves a bit of relaxation and his performances since signing for Spurs have certainly warranted a gentle wind-down period. Cameo appearances in the cups are likely to be Friedel’s only outings this season.
Danny Rose – The incompetent left-back will be positively delirious having signed a new bench-warming contract recently, much to the amazement of the footballing fan. His endearingly naïve positivity in thinking he will challenge Ben Davies for a place might keep him warm as he develops bed sores from his soon to be entirely sedentary lifestyle. If he suddenly becomes a good and reliable player, he might challenge, but it seems unlikely.
Ben Davies – As long as he stays fit, the Welshman should be a shoe-in for the left-back spot this season. When your main competition is Danny Rose, you have to feel fairly confident that you’ll get the nod. Comparisons with Gareth Bale are pretty wide of the mark, but apparently Harry Redknapp is certain Davies will eventually revert to left back, which he kind of has, so… A good opportunity to prove himself on a bigger stage, Davies looks likely to impress if he settles well.
Younes Kaboul – The apparently heavily made-up Frenchman looks set to leave for the racist’s playground that is Lazio, so no longer will we see his incredible ability to look calm and in control for ages before melting down in a tragicomic disaster. Still, remember the 4-4 against Villa. If he does stay, he would be a decent squad player to have but as a first choice, he is perhaps too laissez-faire for his own good.
Michael Dawson – For all his hard work and combative attitude, it’s always been a bit of a disappointment that Dawson is Tottenham’s club captain. He’s just never seemed good enough to wear the armband. Decent? Yes. Honest? Largely. Fighter? Definitely. Good enough? No, not really, no. He may be on his way, in which case he’d leave with everyone’s best wishes, but if he remains he may have a tough fight for his place in the team. Would be ideal to join Steve Bruce’s Spurs revolution at, er, Hull.
Jan Vertonghen – Despite apparent interest from ‘all above board transfer practices’ Barcelona, the talented Belgian may well sign a new contract at Spurs, which at least guarantees some quality at centre back for 2014/15. Not infallible but a classy player who adds real quality, Vertonghen should take the captain’s armband from Michael ‘Michael Dawson’ Dawson and will be the lynchpin of the defence.
Kyle Walker – At least he’s fast. After blitzing his way into the team during 2011/12, the better of the two Kyles had a shaky season last year. Walker’s defensive weaknesses all too often left him relying on his lightning pace to get himself out of trouble. This season Walker will reclaim the right back spot as his own and could well put in a decent shout for an England place.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto – The eccentric, enigmatic Cameroonian finds himself fourth in line for a left back spot and will almost certainly not feature in Pochettino’s plans for this season, particularly after head-butting his own team-mate during Cameroon’s disastrous World Cup campaign – how to make a good impression. Bizarre to think he’s been at Spurs since 2006, when he was up against Lee Young-pyo for his place – how things change.
Ezekiel Fryers – Former Manchester United man Fryers is a promising player but appears caught betwixt and between the domains of left back and centre back. It would be shame for him to suffer from Phil Jones syndrome (not with the face – that could never happen to another human) and become something of a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Might have to make the very best of occasional appearances to stake a serious claim.
Eric Dier – An unknown quantity in the Premier League, the recent signing has spent his career thus far at Sporting Lisbon. Arriving with a reputation as a seriously committed and gifted individual with a fearless and cocksure approach, perhaps Dier will eventually become the man to pick up where Ledley King left off. A lot is expected of the youngster but he will need to be patient this season.
Vlad Chiriches – The Romanian has been heavily linked with a move to Roma after just one year in the Premier League. If he were to stay, he could be the type of player Pochettino favours, but it’s possible Chiriches wants guaranteed first-team football, which he certainly won’t get at White Hart Lane.
Kyle Naughton – Another player linked with a move away, Naughton was once considered the Sheffield United recruit with the greater potential. Unfortunately, whilst Walker has pushed on, Naughton has never really lived up to the billing and it looks likely that his future lies elsewhere, possibly in Wales at Swansea.
That’s it for the Spurs defence, coming next the heavily oversubscribed midfield…